Buccaneers: Demar Dotson, Ali Marpet head to IR
By James Yarcho
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed two prominent offensive lineman on injured reserve, raising even more questions about the direction of the team in 2017.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed tackle Demar Dotson and center Ali Marpet on injured reserve, effectively ending their season. Both players suffered knee injuries in Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons but were able to finish the game. Now, the two most productive linemen on the team are out for the final five games.
Jameis Winston is supposed to resume taking the full reps on Wednesday but for the life of me, I can’t find a reason it makes sense to bring him back at all in 2017. Winston has had an injured right shoulder for the majority of the season and now placing him back under center behind a makeshift line is terrifying.
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If Winston isn’t fully recovered, one big shot could create even more damage, leading to surgery or a prolonged recovery period spilling into 2018 – see Andrew Luck. There’s already enough questions about Winston’s availability because of the NFL’s current investigation. Adding injury to that only makes things murkier.
Joe Hawley will be the man to take over for Marpet at center. Hawley started all sixteen games at center last season for the Bucs and saw some time against the Falcons after finally being a game day active. Replacing Dotson will likely be Kevin Pamphile.
This also raises questions as to why Luke Stocker was released Tuesday as he is the best blocking tight end on the team. The Bucs promoted tight end Alan Cross back to the 53-man roster, but Stocker’s blocking will be sorely missed with the loss of Dotson.
The Buccaneers appear to be in full tank mode. Tank is a dirty word, but there seems to be no explanation as to the reasoning behind these moves. It could be Dirk Koetter’s desperation to save his job, throwing out the young guys to show promise for next season, but the roster changes this week are creating an environment where evaluation is more important than the win column.
Next: Five Game Changers For Bucs/Packers
Thing have gone from bad to worse in Tampa Bay – and there’s no end in sight.